There are so many technicalities of organic search engine optimization that CEOs often find the subject difficult to comprehend. Sometimes, the IT team can oversimplify or over-complicate the concept as a result of which, the top management can end up with a perception that the process is very easy and quick or it is simply too difficult and unmanageable. Since the truth is invariably somewhere between the two extremes, SEO can often leave CEOs frustrated. This makes it very important that the CEOs have the right perspective on SEO marketer and what it can or cannot do. Some vital aspects:
Search Engine Results Page Layout
The search results page now has to accommodate itself on screens of varying sizes, including mobile phones, yet retain its optimal user experience. It is not necessary that the organic search results are always given the top priority on the page because there is a lot of other information, including advertisements that are displayed. It, therefore, becomes vital for the CEO to understand the contents of the SERP regarding what is organic, what is paid for, and the various sources the displayed information is drawn from like local listings, news, images, shopping, etc.
Expectations Regarding Results – SEO – long-term investment
Unlike paid search, SEO does not offer instant results and while there are certainly some low-hanging fruits, in general, the rewards of SEO take time to come into play. There is a lot of hard work involved in SEO to move up the rankings and the goalposts are always moving due to search engine algorithm updates and competitor activity. CEOs need to appreciate that the time taken to achieve specific results cannot be guaranteed.
Search Engines Cannot Be Influenced
As much as CEOs would like to have a direct correlation between the business’s investment in SEO and the results achieved, there’s nothing they can really do to influence Google to push them up the ranking apart from refining their approach to SEO.
CEOs may well be shocked that their advertising or other Google product spends have no bearing on the SERP placement.
SEO Is Much More Than Meta Tags
In the early days of SEO, there was a focus on optimizing the title and the Meta tags. However, with search engines becoming smarter and algorithms geared to delivering results that are high on context and content, a wide range of factors now have to be addressed for effective organic SEO. Even though it is still useful to optimize the title and the Meta tags, its importance has been diluted to a great extent.
Page Submission to Google Is Obsolete
The earlier practice of submitting new or updated pages to Google so that they could get indexed is no longer prevalent. In fact, Google has withdrawn the URL submission form itself as the use of XML sitemaps has made it redundant. Indexing by Google is only important to the extent that good content is recognized by it and not as a ranking parameter.
Brand and Generic Differentiation
While it’s relatively easier to rank well for brand terms, including variations and misspellings than generic terms, CEOs would do well to differentiate between the two in SEO performance reports. Despite heavy investment in SEO, if only good ranks are seen for brand terms, it is time for more attention to be paid to the SEO strategy. Setting up different and separate SEO reporting formats for the brand and generic terms, is the first task CEOs need to undertake for properly evaluating the efficacy of their SEO programs.
No Predictability in SEO Due to Variability in Algorithms and Impact of Machine Learning
Even though Google has an algorithm to determine site rankings, with the passage of time there is less focus on the identification of specific variables and a formula that works across all searches. With Google building in machine learning capabilities in its search algorithm, every search query now tends to have its own set of variables, weights, and rules thus creating a different scale for each and every query. It is a far better strategy to try to consistently achieve superior page ranks by focusing on the quality and context of the content rather than attempting to leverage some selected variables.
Content Is King
SEO now recognizes content to be the most important factor in attaining superior search engine page rankings. While what represents quality, continues to flummox many people, it is generally understood to be content that serves to engage the user; the individual components could be text, images, infographics, video, and interactive elements. The main intention of putting in place engaging content is to lock in users for a longer time so that he can be offered opportunities to transact and generate revenues. Good content provides value to the user and encourages them to share it with others and keep returning to it even after the first encounter.
There Are Different Categories of SEO
Typically, SEO can be categorized in three different ways. The technical SEO consists of making the website capable of being indexed using a variety of ways like XML sitemaps, robots.txt, canonical tags, DNS settings, 301 redirects, mobile optimization, schema markup, site loading speed, removal of duplicate content, etc. On-page SEO is essentially optimization of the various elements found in a web page or throughout the website such as the URL, body copy, Meta tag, title tag, headings tag, image alt attributes, etc. Off-page SEO comprises optimization of quality signals outside of the website such as high-quality backlinks, social media engagement, local citations, and more.
For a true appreciation of SEO and what it can achieve, CEOs need to strip it off the jargon and mysticism that it’s often accompanied by. They should understand that SEO can lend an added punch to their digital marketing initiatives; however, they need to exercise a lot of patience for the results to be visible because SEO is usually a reiterative process that undergoes constant refining. CEOs also need to appreciate that unless sufficient resources in the form of expert web developers, content writers, graphics specialists, and other digital marketing experts are deployed consistently, enduring SEO success cannot be achieved.